Gawain Jones Wins Dubai Open On Tiebreak, Enjoys Buchholz Payday

Gawain Jones Wins Dubai Open On Tiebreak, Enjoys Buchholz Payday

Gawain Jones won the Dubai Open as he edged out Vladimir Akopian on tiebreak. The English grandmasters beat sole leader Boris Savchenko in the final round... which he had also done to win the blitz tournament a few days earlier!

All photos courtesy of the Dubai Open.

It's a remarkable double success for Gawain Jones as it involved the very same player. At the same time Boris Savchenko must be having nightmares.

The blitz tournament was held on Friday 15 March, after four rounds had been played in the open. The difference was that Jones was leading the blitz alone, with 8.5/10, before the final round. He then beat Savchenko (clinching the $1,000 first prize), not knowing that history would repeat itself soon.

Jones with the blitz cup, with Lazaro Bruzon (second from right) finishing
second and Levan Pantsulaia (left of Jones) coming second.

After eight rounds in the open Savchenko was the sole leader with seven points. Five players were on 6.5: GMs Gawain Jones (England), Levan Pantsulaia (Georgia), Vladimir Akopian (Armenia), Alexandr Fier (Brazil) and Pouria Darini of Iran. Jones was paired against Savchenko and just crushed him.

Boris Savchenko might have nightmares about playing Gawain Jones.

The only player to catch Jones was 44-year-old GM Vladimir Akopian. The old fox from Armenia showed that he can still be a very strong player as he totally outplayed Pantsulaia as Black.

However, Jones turned out to have a slightly better Buchholz than Akopian (only half a point; more on this topic here) and this made a huge difference since prizes were not shared. Therefore the English GM got the U.S. $13,000 first prize and Akopian “only” U.S. $7,000 instead of 10K each.

Vladimir Akopian, rather unlucky in the financial department.

Another Akopian game that needs to be mentioned is the following, which included a very interesting long-term piece sacrifice. It seems that White should better (with e.g. 17.Qd4) and later on he should be able to hold, but it's just incredibly difficult to play such a game from a practical point of view.

2016 Dubai Open | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1 13 GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2650 7,5 0,5 49,5 42
2 10 GM Akopian Vladimir ARM 2656 7,5 0,5 49 41,5
3 23 GM Savchenko Boris RUS 2607 7 0 49,5 42
4 19 GM Fier Alexandr BRA 2619 7 0 45,5 38,5
5 14 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2648 7 0 45 38
6 39 GM Darini Pouria IRI 2496 7 0 44 37
7 4 GM Bruzon Batista Lazaro CUB 2679 7 0 42,5 36,5
8 28 GM Antipov Mikhail Al. RUS 2562 7 0 41,5 35,5
9 16 GM Sokolov Ivan NED 2626 6,5 0 50 42,5
10 33 GM Gopal G.N. IND 2544 6,5 0 48 40,5
11 24 GM Pantsulaia Levan GEO 2604 6,5 0 46 38,5
12 3 GM Sargissian Gabriel ARM 2693 6,5 0 45,5 39
13 11 GM Safarli Eltaj AZE 2656 6,5 0 45 38
14 15 GM Kuzubov Yuriy UKR 2638 6,5 0 44,5 38
15 50 IM Tabatabaei M.Amin IRI 2466 6,5 0 44 37
16 26 GM Sandipan Chanda IND 2585 6,5 0 43,5 37,5
17 12 GM Amin Bassem EGY 2655 6,5 0 42,5 36,5
18 30 GM Can Emre TUR 2555 6,5 0 41,5 36
19 42 IM Gagare Shardul IND 2491 6 0 50 42,5
20 7 GM Adhiban B. IND 2663 6 0 49 42

(Full final standings here.)

The Dubai Open was held 11-19 April at the Dubai Chess & Cultural Club. The tournament was a nine-round Swiss played with the standard FIDE time control: one hour and 30 minutes to finish a game, with an additional 30 seconds per move. The total prize fund was U.S. $50,000.

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